Though I can’t be sure of the exact date, it was sometime in February 1988 (thirty years ago) when I got my first full time “paid job” in radio, working at 2WEB, Bourke. Prior to that, I was a volunteer at 2NCR-FM, Lismore (since 1978), and worked as the phone answerer for Saturday nights requests at 2LM, Lismore (since 1981). 2WEB was an awesome station to start out with. I was 22 years old!
I turn 53 this year, and being in a defined benefit superannuation scheme, where there are strong advantages to retiring at the age of 60, I’m starting to think more seriously about where I’ll spend my later years. It’s not like I feel I “should retire”. “There’s plenty of life in the old girl yet”, I’ve said to a number of people. Will I stay in Sydney? Unlikely, due to the cost of living, and because I don’t think Sydney is a friendly place for older people, so more likely it will be somewhere I’ve lived previously.
As a result of this reflection, I’ve been re-connecting lately with some people from my days in Bourke, and with my extended family in Lismore and Brisbane.
And with the recent elevation of Michael McCormack to the role of Deputy Prime Minister (replacing Barnaby Joyce), I’ve been chatting with friends about my days in Wagga Wagga.
A friend from that time, who also lives in Sydney now, located this long forgotten photograph of a Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras float in 1994. Take a close look to see the face of Deputy PM, Michael McCormack. He was the Editor of the Wagga Wagga Daily Advertiser back then, and wrote a number of deeply nasty editorials about LGBTQI people. These editorials led to a successful case for homosexual vilification brought to the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board by our late friend, Chris Jones. Wagga Waggacommunity members concerned at being identified in the media area at Mardi Gras held up MM masks to hide their identity and protest his homophobic newspaper editorials. I should note he has since distanced himself from those editorials. Oh, I’m in the photograph too!
Twenty-something years later, I hardly blinked when walking home on Crown Street, Surry Hills the other night. To my surprise, there was a woman, completely naked, standing outside the Via Napoli pizza restaurant. It was close to 10.00pm, so, thankfully, there were no children in the restaurant, and thus no parents who had to explain, what was going on. The responses of those seated is something to behold.
So there you have it, thirty years of history. So much change. What’s next?